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GM Artist Hub gets big support grant

Ian Fairbairn, who set up the foundation in memory of his wife Esmee
Ian Fairbairn, who set up the foundation in memory of his wife Esmee

A project led by 13 performing arts organisations across Greater Manchester has been awarded £60,000 by London-based national charity the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, to support independent artists and creative freelances affected by the pandemic.

GM Artist Hub was formed in April to help independent artists, advice and opportunities during the coronavirus crisis. The project has since offered nearly 300 private advice sessions to local artists and a number of larger opportunities for artists to learn about specific funding organisations and connect with chief executives and artistic directors across Greater Manchester.

The organisations involved in the hub are Community Arts North West, Contact, HOME, The Lowry, Manchester International Festival, Octagon Theatre Bolton, Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Royal Exchange Theatre, SICK! Festival, Sustained Theatre Up North, Waterside Arts and Creative Industries Trafford, hÅb/Word of Warning and Z-arts.

The £60,000 will allow the project to offer a range of new opportunities to local artists. Claire Symonds, The Lowry’s senior producer for artist development said: “The hub wanted to demonstrate support for the freelance community that sits at the heart of Greater Manchester’s creative scene.

“This award from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation means we can start offering opportunities that are relevant to our local community right now.”

The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, founded in 1961, is a privately-funded foundation controlling the annual distribution of tens of millions of pounds to improve the quality of community life throughout the UK.

It does this by funding the work of over 750 charitable organisations, almost 550 of whom were offered special Covid-related grants of up to £60,000 in March.

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